15 April 2010

Using radio to encourage manliness

In the past, I've pretty much stayed away from listening to the radio in my car for no reason other than the fact that my own music is a lot better [IMHO]. However, because of a busy schedule and laziness and little time spent in my car, the radio has been playing more and more often. And, come to find out, the radio isn't a very "safe space" to be a feminist. More than once during the last week, my preferred station (I'm having a hard time remembering why I like it anymore...) has been broadcasting these awful conversations between their DJs and whoever chooses to call in and chat with the DJs. Most recently, the radio show hosts, who I perceive to be men (in fact, I believe they've both IDed themselves as men on the show) asked listeners to call in about their most "girly-man" friends, whatever the crap that means. So, people called in to chat about their male partners who shave body hair or get it waxed, or about how they prefer to wear pink shirts everyday. The DJs were just dying the whole time, like pink-clad men are unheard of in their worlds. After each caller explained their girly-manness, the DJs went on and ONNNNN about this apparent phenomenon and gushed and cracked jokes and were apparently shocked about this.

I don't know about you, but I don't really get it.

First of all, it's just annoying to listen to (so I stopped, don't worry about it). I would like to please know what the need was for this conversation. I felt like the whole conversation was getting at socialized standards of masculinity and femininity, and what it means to be a REAL man (versus, apparently, a fake one). For whatever silly reasons that I do not understand, wearing pink and calling yourself a man actually makes you a girly-man. And getting rid of body hair, well, only the REALEST menz keep their body hair. Physical body standards don't really add up to me as the components of masculinity, because I don't really know anymore what masculinity is, aside from a narrow box to assign roles to people so they know how to act in the world. Meanwhile, those standards hurt men because they have to reach and reach and reach to obtain the unobtainable standards of manliness. At the same time, non-men deal with the internalized impacts of men forcing men to be REAL men. It shows up in the form of rape and sexual assault, in violent relationships, in homophobia, and in encouraging other men to strive for those standards.

So, thanks, Unnamed Radio Station, for perpetuation unrealistic standards of gender socialization on a daily basis. No wonder men rape other people in an effort to attain some ounce of the power they're told they should have.



  1. well said! i really like what you had to say here. what is imho?

  2. In my humble opinion.

    Heh, humble...

  3. Sometimes I forget how bad the radio is. We should start a feminist radio station.